have become a matter
of deciding how
much I want to hurt.

No, I’m not deciding
who to be with based on the long
term or envisioning doves and bells.

Instead I think
how long do I stay?
how much do I let myself feel
How many pieces of my heart
am I willing to lose
this time?

Those are the questions I ask
when I start to feel.

I decide with that first eye contact
that first look
that first flutter of stomach
and tingle of spine
how much risk
that flutter
that tingle
will lead to

swoop of stomach
when I hear the first lie
tightness of chest
at the first unkind word
not being able to breathe
for fear of the loss

small cuts on my heart
with each reduced touch

each withdrawn word
each redirected look.

So how much
do I want to hurt?

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